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Montevideo, May 26th 2024 - 03:19 UTC



Venice combats massive tourism: day visitors will be charged a €5 fee

Saturday, April 27th 2024 - 08:41 UTC
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On average some 80,000 holidaymakers stream into Venice every day, most of whom only spend a few hours before returning On average some 80,000 holidaymakers stream into Venice every day, most of whom only spend a few hours before returning

Venice started charging this week €5 (US$ 5.30) fee for day-trippers who are not staying overnight. Despite the launch of the scheme to curb mass tourism was postponed several times, it will now apply until mid July.

However there is a number of exceptions which could undermine the new scheme. Residents of the wider Veneto region, for example, who visit Venice don't have to pay a fee. And it's completely unclear how city authorities intend to check that all day-trippers really have paid up. Officials have said, however, that inspectors will be out and about carrying out spot checks. Anyone caught without having paid the fee risks a fine of up to €300 (some US$ 320).

Likewise the scheme does not set a maximum number of tourists allowed to the city visit per day. After all, on average, around 80,000 holidaymakers stream into Venice every day, most of whom only spend a few hours before returning. It has been shown that day-trippers spend relatively little money in the city and crowd the city's narrow alleys.

Venice officials have been trying for a long time to handle on mass tourism in the city.

“We invite those who want to visit our city to experience Venice at a slow pace and get a feel for the city,” Venice's city councilor for tourism, Simone Venturini, said. But Venturini admits that changing Venice tourism habits will take time.

The city official conceded that the introduction of a visitor's fee was also to encourage tourists to stay overnight. “Venice is the first city to take such a step, and adjustments would be made with time”.

Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro recently told the daily Corriere della Sera that the city will remain open to visitors without a cap on how many people are allowed to visit any given day. He added that the fee may, however, have a psychological effect by deterring some tourists.

“Venice must be suited to those who live there and those who visit,” Brugnaro said. “But on certain days with particularly high visitor numbers, there is a risk this is not the case.”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 5 million tourists visited Venice every year. A similar figure is expected for this year.

In recent years, Venice residents and lawmakers have complained about rude visitors lacking common decency. City officials have drawn up a list of rules to encourage better manners. Among other things, it is forbidden to sit on Venice bridges and stairs, jump into the canal, walk through the city in swimwear, feed pigeons or litter. Anyone breaking these rules could face fines of up to €500.

According to city administrators the purpose of the visitor's fee is not to generate cash, though they expect it to contribute around €700,000 to city coffers this year. City officials said this money and revenue generated from overnight stay taxes will be used to clean streets and improve tourists sightings

Holidaymakers staying in Venice accommodation need to pay a nightly fee of between €1 and €5 per night, depending on the hotel category and time of year. Last year, the city made €34 million from this tax alone. But that's not all, since August first, new rules will also apply to guided city tours with tourist groups not exceeding 25 people.

Categories: Tourism, International.
Tags: Italy, Venice.

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